3 ways to get started (or) How to make my art my business
We probably haven't met.
I don't know a lot about you.
Maybe you have never made a Nickle off your art. Maybe you have made thousands, but it's inconsistent, or you don't know how to replicate it. Maybe you have made a ton of money for other people, but somehow never get paid yourself. But if you are reading this, you probably are dissatisfied with your art business, but don't know how to fix it.
Artists are almost never taught anything about business in their education. The paranoid part of me thinks that might be intentional. But either way, it ends now.
Here are three steps to begin to make your art career your art business.
1. STOP WORKING FOR FREE
People will often advise you to work for "exposure" and at first it might seem to make sense. If you do good work and people see it, it could lead to more paying work.
This almost never seems to work.
Part of the problem is the word of mouth you are getting is that of someone who doesn't need to get paid. You are getting more well known... as someone to be taken advantage of.
In addition, people place a higher value on things they paid for. If you are charging an hourly rate, you will get out on time. Work for free, and your time will not be respected.
I have also found that in collaborative projects like films, the project is more likely to get finished if the producer has spent money on it.
2. Spend money on marketing
Conversely, you absolutely should spend money on your business.
Maybe it's human nature; but having a deadline on a project you have paid to market makes sure that YOU get your project finished.
In the early stages I would not recommend spend a lot of money. You don't need to spend thousands on google ads or publicists. But promoting your social media pages & entering contests are relatively inexpensive ways to grow your audience.
3. Have a website. Preferably with a store.
Maybe it's old school, but having a dedicated website for your art is a must.
Even if you have a YouTube channel, an IG, and you are blowing up on TikTok; it's a really good idea to have a home for your work that can't get shutdown by the whims of a giant corporation.
Start off simply. 1 page that is active is far better for search engines to find and your users to navigate than 15 different "Coming soon" pages.
If you sell a physical product, have a store or easy to find links. If you are a performer, let people know how to book you for work. Make it easy for your customers to find you.
It's common sense, but we often get so caught up in all the things we "should" do, that we ignore the simple stuff.
That's it for today.
Obviously, there is a lot more you can do to grow your business; but if you try to do too much to quickly, it is easy to get burned out. You don't want to spend so much time on the business part that you forget to make the art itself. Start with these basics and go from there.
I will definitely follow up with more.
Thanks for reading, and thank you for making art.